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Grab yourself a glass of wine and join Bridget Collins, Stacey Halls and Sonia Velton as they discuss the meeting point between curiosity and historicism in narrative fiction and the journeys each of them took towards getting their work published for the first time.
The Binding by Bridget Collins: Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder. He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there's something you want to forget your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret. In a vault under his mentor's workshop, row upon row of memories are meticulously stored and recorded. Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it. Bridget trained as an actor after reading English at King's College, Cambridge. She is the author of 7 acclaimed books for young adults and has had two plays produced, one at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The Binding is her first adult novel.
The Familiars by Stacey Halls: Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. As the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. Crossing paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife, Alice promises to help Fleetwood give birth to a healthy baby. But as Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west—is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Stacey has worked as book editor at Stylist.co.uk, and has also written for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine, where she now works as Deputy Chief Sub Editor. The Familiars is her first novel.
Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton: When Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God's will. Sara despises her mistress's blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets and silk designs—dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. But when he laughs at her ambition, Esther unwittingly puts in motion events that will set the scene for a devastating day of reckoning between her and Sara, where the price of a piece of silk may prove more than either is able to pay. Sonia has been a solicitor in Hong Kong, a Robert Schuman Scholar in Luxembourg and a full-time Mum of three in Dubai. Blackberry and Wild Rose was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize as a work in progress and is her first novel.